Dr. Williamson's broad research interest is the well-being of families and their members within the context of social, economic, and political conditions. A central focus of her current research is the conceptualization and measurement of family functioning in contemporary families. As well, she has examined the influence that policy has on the well-being of families in poverty. Some of her research has explored the impact of health care and social assistance policies on the health behaviours and health of people living in poor families; whether the relationship between health behaviours and health is dependent on income adequacy; and the implications of welfare-to-work policies for the health and development of pre-school children in poverty.
Dr. Williamson is conducting a project entitled Family functioning in everyday life: The experiences of families with young children and diverse compositions, socioeconomic circumstances, and ethno-cultural origins, which offers opportunities for graduate students to pursue Master's and Doctoral research projects. In this study, a critical ethnographic approach is being used to generate in-depth descriptions of the processes engaged in by families as they function in their everyday lives, with attention to social, economic, and political influences, such as social ideals, social and economic policies, and employment conditions on family functioning.
Current Research Grants
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2013-2018; Family Functioning in Everyday Life: The Experiences of Families with Young Children and Diverse Compositions and Ethno-Cultural Origins; Principal investigator: Williamson, D.L.; Co-investigators: Kushner, K.E., Pitre, N., & Skrypnek, B.J.; $489,000.
Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund, University of Alberta, 2016-2017; Needs assessment for enhanced field supervisor engagement within the Human Ecology Practicum Program; Principal Investigator: Chandler, K; Co-Investigator: Williamson, D.L.; $16,840.
Graduate students currently supervised and their research topic/area of interest
Successful professionals require strong communication skills. This course focuses on interpersonal communication in professional settings, examining factors that enhance or impede communication and exploring strategies for communicating more effectively with different audiences. Students develop written, visual, and oral communication skills that help them connect with others both in and outside the organization, and convey information in positive and persuasive ways. [Human Ecology]Fall Term 2022 Winter Term 2023
Theories and processes of program planning, implementation, and evaluation from a human ecological perspective. Prerequisite: successful completion of *60.Fall Term 2022 Fall Term 2022
Theories, approaches, and processes fundamental to the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs that effect change and build capacity in families, communities and organizations.Winter Term 2023